Shortening a Months-Long Time to Market
Initially, Hoot Judkins hired a traditional photographer because their factories were unable to provide them with photos that were up to their standards and the photos didn’t reflect the actual inventory that Hoot Judkins carried in store. Their photographer was a contractor who took anywhere from three to six months to get photos back to the team, in part because the necessary photo editing of cropping out backgrounds, adding shadows, creating silos, and more was a time-consuming process. This meant that Hoot Judkins’ time to market was a months-long process, one that limited what they could post to their website and sell.
“If a product isn’t on your website, your customers don’t know that you carry it and they won’t come into the store looking for it,” said Vicki Marchant, owner of Hoot Judkins. “Or if they’re looking at a sofa on your site and see a photo of a blue one but want a gray one, even if we have the gray one in stock they won’t know that if we can’t get a photo of it on the site. If they don’t see what they’re looking for, they won’t come in.” Hoot Judkins was unhappy with their product photography process but didn’t think they had the resources to improve it — until a call from Outward changed everything.
The Aperture Difference
After speaking with the Sales team at Outward and learning about the Aperture Platform, Vicki decided she wanted to make the change from traditional photography to the platform’s automated photography and AI-powered photo editing software.
Thorough setup and training, responsive support
Between Outward’s Installation and Customer Support teams, Vicki was up and running with Aperture within days. “We set up the rig in our warehouse and the Installation team was receptive to all of our requests about how we wanted the cameras and lights adjusted. That’s the amazing thing about Outward: whenever we’ve needed adjustments on the rig or had questions, they acted right away. They’re really good about listening to concerns and making fixes,” she said.
Intuitive, simple-to-use platform
“Outward came in one day, set everything up for us, and we were already jumping in and using it that day,” Vicki said. The photo rig makes it easy to quickly take photos from every angle you need, and enables users to replicate shots with templates that save exact camera height, camera angle, zoom, and distance settings. The rig is so intuitive that Vicki was able to train her nephew, who is a Hoot Judkins salesman, on how to use it and take exactly the shots she’s looking for. “He picked it up really quickly and having those templates is a huge game changer and time saver. With them, he has the confidence to take photos, knowing exactly the angles that I want.”
Neither Vicki nor her nephew have any previous photography experience. She was also able to quickly learn how to use Aperture’s vast array of photo editing tools to create the shadows, lighting, backgrounds, and more that she wants to create beautiful, on-brand images that get used on the company’s website and in social media ads.
Fits naturally into existing workflows
By setting up the rig in their warehouse, Hoot Judkins was able to seamlessly incorporate taking photos with Aperture into their existing workflow of bringing new merchandise into the store. “The rig is centrally located. Product comes off the trucks, we line up the furniture down the warehouse aisle, take photos, and move the furniture straight onto the showroom floor. Our new policy is that any new product gets photographed before it goes onto the showroom floor,” Vicki said.
That even goes for clearance items, which, prior to using Aperture, Hoot Judkins didn’t have the time or resources to photograph and put on their website. Now they’re able to photograph every item in their store, including one-off and clearance items, and get them on their website — and they usually wind up selling very fast.
An Improved Photography Experience for an Even Better Customer Experience
Increase in sales, 3-6 month decrease in time to market
Since using Aperture, Hoot Judkins has been able to decrease their time to market from three to six months to same-day, in most cases. No more waiting for their photographer to make time-consuming edits, no more setting up shoots around that person’s schedule. With Aperture, Hoot Judkins is able to photograph their incoming product the same day it arrives at their warehouse, edit their photos, and get them up on their site within hours.
Additionally, because they’re able to photograph on their time, Hoot Judkins can now feature around nine to 10 images per item as opposed to around two or three per item prior to using Aperture — an increase of about 3x-5x. That’s critical as furniture buying increasingly moves online and consumers expect numerous high-quality shots to aid in their decision making. In fact, since implementing Aperture, Hoot Judkins’ online sales have more than doubled. Their clients who shop in-store are going in more educated and prepared to purchase.
With the Aperture Platform, Hoot Judkins is now able to own their photo-taking process from capture to post, and is empowered to edit photos quickly to match their brand identity, photograph their entire product lineup, and accurately reflect the products they carry online and in store. By embracing the future of product photography, Hoot Judkins continues to provide their customers with the best service and experience no matter how they choose to shop.